Biden to visit Florida one week after Hurricane Ian




  • In Politics
  • 2022-10-05 14:00:28Z
  • By NBC News

WASHINGTON - President Joe Biden will visit Florida on Wednesday to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Ian, his second storm-related trip this week.

The president, who will be accompanied by first lady Jill Biden, will travel to Fort Myers to "reaffirm his commitment to supporting the people of Florida as they recover and rebuild from the devastating storm," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Biden plans to meet with small-business owners and residents affected by the hurricane, she said. He will thank federal, state and local officials who are working to restore power, clean up debris and distribute food and water, along with providing other lifesaving assistance.

Image: President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One in Rhode Island on July 20, 2022.
Image: President Joe Biden disembarks Air Force One in Rhode Island on July 20, 2022.  

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; Deanne Criswell, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and state and local officials will also provide Biden with an operational briefing on the response and recovery efforts, Jean-Pierre said.

More than 100 deaths have been blamed on Ian, which made landfall in southwest Florida as a Category 4 hurricane last Wednesday, bringing 150 mph winds and storm surges as high as 14 feet.

Biden said Friday that Ian would likely be one the worst storms in the country's history and that it could take years to rebuild.

Thousands of Floridians are in emergency shelters after their homes were damaged or destroyed, and thousands of people are still without power.

Biden visited Puerto Rico on Monday, roughly two weeks after Hurricane Fiona made landfall, leading to an islandwide power outage and killing at least 25 people.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted "above-average hurricane activity" this year - which would make it the seventh consecutive above-average year - because of several climate-related factors. Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

Biden has publicly sparred with DeSantis, a Republican. Although the two have spoken on the phone a number of times since the storm hit last week, Wednesday will be the first time they will have met in person since tensions flared over immigration and abortion access.

Most recently, DeSantis has provoked the ire of Democrats by sending a plane of migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, to make a statement about the Biden administration's immigration policies. Biden has accused DeSantis of using migrants as "props" for "political stunts."

Asked Tuesday whether Biden would look for an opportunity to address those issues with DeSantis, Jean-Pierre said: "There will be plenty of time to discuss differences between the president and the governor, but now is not the time.

"We are working as one," she added.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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